Let Suppliers Sit At the B2B Table
- March 6th, 2015
- By: Scott Robinson
When things go wrong in the integrated supply chain, the easiest dodge in the world is to blame suppliers. Suppliers often have a rough time of it in B2B; they tend to lie at the outskirts of integrated processes, not treated as full partners.
This attitude is out of date, according to Principles and Practices of Public Procurement, a consortium for public sector supply chain best practices. Equitable treatment of suppliers as B2B partners should be a guiding principle.
What should that equitable treatment include? Openness and mutual visibility should be agreed-upon standards in the supplier relationship. This lowers the risk of delays, enhances contingency planning, and reduces recovery time when delivery failures do occur.
Another important practice is governance. A team-based approach to management of the vendor relationship can be an advantage. Defining the day-to-day roles and responsibilities of those who interact with the supplier leads to repeatability of successful process innovations, and efficient escalation for problem resolution.
On the technical side, single-sourcing of data is a recommended step, enabling consistent processing and minimizing the chances of data loss for all parties.
Going the extra mile can also pay off. Apple secured its position with critical suppliers by investing more than $3 billion in pre-payments to those suppliers, ensuring their long-term loyalty, reducing risk and strengthening those partners within their own markets. That level of investment is rare, but the principle behind it – treat suppliers as full B2B partners – is a sound one.